‘Voluntary mitigation’ means reducing emissions and increasing removals of greenhouse gases beyond government requirements (including requirements in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme). Past approaches to voluntary mitigation will not work in the context of the Paris Agreement and domestic climate change policies. A new framework is needed to incentivise voluntary climate action and better help organisations to make credible, transparent and marketable claims.
Many organisations in Aotearoa want to go beyond government requirements to help tackle climate change. However, past approaches to voluntary offsetting and carbon-neutral claims are not compatible with the Paris Agreement.
This paper proposes an innovative two-track system aimed at scaling up voluntary climate action to help Aotearoa New Zealand meet its Paris Agreement targets – or mitigate beyond the targets. As a next step, Aotearoa needs to test this proposed system in key markets and ensure its compatibility with evolving international standards.